Sue Barker receives standing ovation as Wimbledon legends celebrate 100 years of Centre Court

·2 min read
 (AP)
(AP)

Tennis legend Sue Barker was on Sunday reduced to tears as Wimbledon legends and fans gave her a standing ovation as Centre Court celebrated its centenary.

The oldest tennis tournament in the world this year marks its 135th edition, but it is 100 years since Centre Court was moved to Church Road, its current location.

A ceremony was hosted by Barker and her BBC commentary partner - and fellow tennis legend - John McEnroe and included a rollcall of some of the best the sport has ever seen.

Close to 30 winners of the main singles trophies including Rod Laver, Bjorn Borg, Billie Jean King, Chris Evert, Venus Williams, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Andy Murray stepped out to hearty applause.

The rollcall of legends. (AFP via Getty Images)
The rollcall of legends. (AFP via Getty Images)

There were some notable absentees, including seven-time singles champions Pete Sampras and Serena Williams and nine-time winner Martina Navratilova, who has been forced to stay away from the All England Club after testing positive for coronavirus.

The ceremony ended with a standing ovation for Barker, who is in her final year of presenting duties for the BBC.

Barker, who has had to deal with many emotional players following final defeats, shed tears of her own on Centre Court at the reception.

Andy Murray salutes the crowd. (REUTERS)
Andy Murray salutes the crowd. (REUTERS)

“John McEnroe will be sent to Court 17 for going off script but thank you, that really does mean the world to me,” she said.

Federer, along with Murray, was another to receive a standing ovation. Absent from the tournament this year for the first time since 1997 as he continues his recovery from knee surgery, Federer received the biggest cheer in a parade of former champions.

Federer said: "I've been lucky enough to play a lot of matches on this court. It's great to be here with all the other champions. My biggest wins, my biggest losses. One of my big highlights was walking out here in 2001 with Pete Sampras.

Roger Federer returned for the ceremony. (AFP via Getty Images)
Roger Federer returned for the ceremony. (AFP via Getty Images)

“I hope I can come back one way or another.”

Organisers might have been apprehensive about the reception three-time singles champion Margaret Court, who has been widely criticised for her views on gay marriage, would receive but, although not as effusive as for many others, there was polite applause.

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